By Alexander Coles for A Luxury Travel Blog


Everyone’s looking for a way to make their special occasion that little bit more special. After all, while weddings in vineyards and honeymoons in a Maldives bungalow are undeniably gorgeous, they have been done rather a lot.

You want something different. We get it.

Whether you’re planning a wedding or a honeymoon, a loved one’s birthday party or a milestone anniversary, you’re looking for an experience that is entirely unlike any other special event you’ve been a part of—one that you’ll remember with a thrill for the rest of your life.

In order to create an extraordinary special event, there are seven golden rules to finding the perfect venue.

  1. An event venue that’s staggeringly gorgeous, and wildly out of the ordinary.
  2. Superb staff ensuring every last detail is perfect.
  3. Gourmet cuisine prepared by a private, highly-trained chef
  4. A location backdrop that inspires wonder…and exceptional event photography.
  5. Indoor and outdoor space.
  6. Luxurious accommodation onsite.

Above all, the greatest events offer privacy and exclusivity to the group—a sense that what you’re doing is somehow separate from the world, a day almost outside real life.

Which is why superyachts are the ultimate event venue for special occasions.

Here are five lifetime events that are perfect to host on a luxury yacht charter, with some practical information to assist in your decision-making.

1. White wedding, blue sea

‘I got married on a superyacht’. Now that’s something you don’t hear every day. And now it’s in your head, don’t you want to be the one to say it?

There are so many good reasons to marry on a yacht, beginning with the spectacular venue, with glamorous deck spaces for the ceremony, or an opulent interior if you’d prefer to say your vows surrounded by a décor of marble and gold. When it comes time to party, the reception can spill over the decks, with music playing, guests dancing in the moonlight, and (no doubt) a few guests jumping in the sundeck Jacuzzi as the night wears on!

The yacht’s luxurious staterooms provide for up to 12 people, meaning your bridal party and loved ones have stunning accommodations right onsite. As for the backdrop, you’re only limited by your imagination. Imagine getting married on the Amalfi Coast or the in tropical islands of the Caribbean, where the incredible views of yacht and sky and sea make for truly breathtaking wedding photography. The imagery of a white wedding dress against blue sea is a visual match made in heaven, and the yacht provides the perfect location shoot for unforgettable images—from the bridal party posing on the foredeck to the happy couple jumping on the bed in the master suite.

The yacht’s professional crew are another superb reason to get married onboard a yacht. Superyacht crew aren’t the typical hotel or venue staff, who are often transient or temp staff, and are sometimes uninterested or poorly trained. Instead, crew have spent their yachting careers looking after ultra-high net worth individuals, from celebrities and princes to oil magnates and Swiss bankers. They’re also accustomed to entertaining onboard, with event charters during high-profile events like the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. In short, it’s not their first rodeo, and yacht crew will handle your special day with consummate style and professionalism, and liaise carefully with any florists, celebrants, wedding planners etc.

As for the chef, they’ve been cooking for these same elite guests, and are accustomed to preparing fine dining cuisine across many cuisines and dietary requirements. You’ll have control over the menu, and if your wedding is large and requires outside catering, the chef is on hand to assist.

Even more blissful, when it’s time for the honeymoon, the guests just depart and you float away…

The logistics

Most (but by no means all) charter yachts have passenger licenses of 12 guests if the yacht leaves the dock and heads out to sea. This means you can either have an intimate wedding at anchor and return to port for the party, or alternatively you may wish to host your wedding ceremony in a glamorous marina, such as Monte Carlo so that more people can attend the ceremony. There are some yachts the are classified as passenger vessels and do not have the 12 guest limit, which are very in demand. Also look into the legal regulations in the country you’re marrying in: for instance, if you’d like to get married on a yacht in romantic Santorini, you’ll need to arrive in Greece a week before. A reputable yacht broker will have experience planning events, so rely on their expertise.

2. Enter honeymoon heaven

Can you imagine a better way to start married life than drifting through paradise on a superyacht?

Watch land fall out of sight and enter your own private bliss of swimming off the yacht and dining by candlelight, having luxury beach picnics on coral atolls and spending happy afternoons strolling through exotic ports. Each meal cooked by the yacht’s private chef, each morning waking to a perfect new view out the large windows of the master suite, each night relaxing in the Jacuzzi with a glass of champagne, looking up at the stars.

Your captain and crew will always be on hand to wait on your hand and foot, but also give you the privacy you want on your honeymoon- to laugh and play and plan your lives together.

Unlike spending your honeymoon in hotels or villas, you won’t have to spend time in traffic or changing hotels to move around from one gorgeous beach or island to another- the yacht takes you where you want to go.

The logistics

Logistics? There simply aren’t any. You just arrive, the crew unpack your luggage, and you don’t have to lift a finger for the entire time. But unlike a cruise ship, you have total control over what you do, and eat, and see. If you crave adventure, the captain will organise night dives and jungle trips and white water rafting. If you just want to relax, the captain will organise masseuses to the yacht and a succession of secluded anchorages, each more beautiful than the last. One useful tip though is to fill out the preference sheet from your broker, so that the crew have an idea ahead of time what you like to eat and drink and do, as well as little details like what kind of music you like so they can create the perfect yacht playlist.

3. Babymoon bliss

The babymoon concept has become wildly popular in recent years, and little wonder: this is the last time a couple gets to relax and be pampered as a couple without children. No matter how excited you are about the arrival of your new baby, a trip for the two of you on a yacht is a heavenly moment captured in time that you’ll look back on for many years to come. (Particularly when you’re up all night with a screaming baby and remember how soft the bed on the yacht was…)

Spend a week having long lie-ins, exploring exotic places, snorkelling crystal clear waters, and reading books on a deckchair, surrounded by the sparkling sea. And while you probably won’t want to leave, another great thing about having a babymoon onboard is that you’ll realise just how perfect luxury yacht charters are for family vacations, so you can return when you have children.

The logistics

Just like any babymoon planning, you’ll want to choose a destination where you’ll be doing your cruising close to land, ensure there’s a good hospital nearby, and get good insurance. Some tropical yachting destinations currently have the Zika virus, so talk to your yacht broker about popular alternative babymoon destinations such as the Seychelles, the Amalfi Coast, the French Riviera, Sardinia, or Croatia.

4. Milestone anniversary, making new memories

A yacht charter for a wedding anniversary is an idyllic way to reconnect and create new memories.

The two of you might want a relaxing holiday away from the cares of normal life, or perhaps you want to explore your shared interests, maybe with an art-lover’s yacht charter down the French Riviera or a gourmet food and wine charter along Italy’s Cinque Terre to Tuscany.

If you’re a lover of grand romantic gestures, the yacht can easily organise your stateroom to be filled with roses, a romantic picnic on a sandbank in the middle of the sea, or even a ceremony to renew your vows.

Whether you want it to be just the two of you or bring the children for a special family event, it’s hard to beat a yachting holiday as a way to mark your time together.

The logistics

Again, there really aren’t any. Just remember, the more information you give your broker, the more prepared the yacht’s crew will be to deliver an anniversary that the two of you will treasure forever.

5. A party to remember

Whether it’s your husband’s 50th birthday party in Monte Carlo or your 8 year old’s pirate-themed party in the BVIs, a luxury charter yacht makes an incredible venue for a celebration. It will certainly not be one they forget, as friends and family drink cocktails on the sundeck, or you watch your kids chase the crew around the yacht on a Caribbean treasure hunt and dive-bombing into the water.

Your yacht crew will have experience throwing glittering parties on the yacht, so just talk to your broker and to the crew about what you want, and they’ll co-ordinate with any organisers, decorators, or caterers to ensure the event exceeds your expectations.

The logistics

As we explained in the wedding section above, most superyachts have passenger restrictions of only 12 guests, but these only apply when the yacht has left the dock, so most big yacht parties tend to happen in famous marinas, such as Cannes or Saint Tropez. Having the party in port (as happens during the Cannes Film Festival for example) means that you can have a much bigger guest list, so speak to your broker about numbers and planning. Of course, if you’re hosting a child’s party or more intimate celebration, a 12 person limit for cruising offshore may be perfect for your needs.

Let British American Yachts help you find your next yacht crew, yacht purchase, or charter experience.

Preparing for Childbirth is Proven to Make You a Better Mother

By Angela Anagnost Repke for Pop Sugar


Before the birth of my first child, I didn't armor myself with knowledge like I should have. Instead of researching breathing techniques, pain relief options, and potential complications, I simply thought, "Yeah, it's going to hurt and there's nothing I can do about it." I didn't think about all the possible scenarios and how I could have given myself the ammo to deal with them. Instead, I gave that power to my obstetrician. 

I should have done my homework. 

I was bullied into a C-section after only 18 hours of labor. After the surgery, I was pumped with so many drugs that the fog made it difficult to even hold my firstborn. The nurse held my baby to my breast — only to begin the takedown of my nipples. This was not the romantic scene I had signed up for. And things only got worse from there. I felt anxious and depressed that I wasn't nursing successfully, and I had little confidence as a new mother. The C-section that I didn't ask for stripped the power from me completely, making me doubt my ability to mother my own child. I had never cried that much in my life.

When I became pregnant with my second, I was determined to do my research. And as it turns out, being prepared for childbirth has a direct effect on your abilities as a mother (or, more accurately, your thoughts on your ability as a mother). According to the Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, the satisfaction of a woman's childbirth experience has vital health implications for her and her family, and whether a mother is prepared for childbirth can help increase this satisfaction.

Katherine Hinic, PhD, conducted a 2017 study on 107 women in the first four days postpartum who gave birth to a healthy infant, carried to full-term, and planned to breastfeed. The new mothers were given a survey to evaluate their birth satisfaction, stress, and breastfeeding self-efficacy to see how these outcomes connected to their preparedness. Hinic wanted to study this because childbirth is the initial task of motherhood and can greatly impact early parenting. Essentially, a positive birth can be associated with an "increased maternal sense of competence, self-esteem, mastery, confidence, and decreased anxiety." 

The study showed that when women were in control and prepared for their labor, they were confident in their ability to breastfeed well. Thus, their overall childbirth experience was favorable, too. The study also demonstrated that women who had longer labors were not as satisfied with their experience. This, I will say, was actually untrue for my second birth. Yes, I labored from start to finish for 50 hours, but I was able to have the vaginal birth I had wanted so badly with my first. Because I was in control, I became a much more confident mother the second time around. I didn't doubt myself, nor did I feel any anxiety.

One surprising thing the study also demonstrated was that receiving pain management had no bearing on childbirth satisfaction. What did matter was whether the mother had the power to choose her method of pain medication. If the mother was prepared, was knowledgeable, and had the autonomy of choosing, then she had a better birthing experience. Thus, her competence in her ability to mother increased as well. Before my second labor started, I wanted to have a natural childbirth, but after 35 hours, I asked, in horrific pain, for that heavenly epidural. I wasn't disappointed — I was pleased that I was the one who made that choice. 

The childbirth experience is often the most memorable time in a woman's life. While it's easy to assume (like me) that giving birth is ultimately out of our control, you can (and should) take steps to make sure you're prepared for whatever may happen to your body and your baby. As women, we aren't always granted the opportunity to go through the birthing process many times (if at all), so it's wise to empower yourself with knowledge.

What Questions to Ask a Nanny


By Amy Daire for Insider

When it comes to hiring someone to look after your children, there's no such thing as being too cautious. However, interviewing tons of nannies, babysitters, and agencies just to find one that's good enough takes a lot of time and effort. 

As someone who has nannied and babysat for several unique families over the past five years, I've been to my fair share of interviews, with both parents and agencies. Some stuck with the simple questions — like "Do you know CPR?" and "How do you feel about overnights?" — but others asked me questions that really made me think about myself and what my role in the family would be. 

These are the six best questions I've been asked in the past (and a few more that I wish had been): 


This question is the perfect ice breaker and it will easily give you the cutest answers you've ever heard in an interview. It won't answer any of the tough, logistical questions you surely have, but it could give you a glimpse into how passionate this person is about their role. It's especially good to ask if you're looking for someone to become a part of the family. 


This is a better, roundabout way of asking "What interests you?" or "What's important to you?" Whether they want to teach your kid(s) their native language, instill good manners in them, or introduce them to art or history, it will subtly give you more details about the person you're interviewing and, more importantly, it will reveal what might rub off on your offspring if this certain nanny is hired. 


It's okay if they have. In fact, it might be better that way. Not only will they have experience with different approaches (maybe even great ones), they will also be able to tell you upfront if there are things they are not okay with. 

Most nannies keep their opinions to themselves with small issues but when it comes to things like punishments, vaccinations, or restrictive diets, things can get tense if you're not on the same page.


Rather than asking "Can you cook?" or "Would you help with homework?" ask them  how they would help. Similar to good parents, good nannies will be on top of the latest tips and tricks to ease any troublesome moments. If they tell you techniques they've used in the past, you'll get an insight into their past work and you'll also get a glimpse of their problem solving skills. 


This is especially important for people looking to hire live-in nannies, as any nanny who has ever lived-in would gladly tell you. It can be hard to establish boundaries when you're a shout away. Take the time in the interview to discuss both of your preferred methods of handling this. 

Maybe strict, specific hours work for you. Or maybe you want them on call even when they're off. Find out how they usually make it work to see if that'll work for you, too. 


This was one of the questions that really made me think because "nanny" could mean something very different to everyone. 

If you're looking for someone to bond with your child, teach them life lessons, and help them grow, you might not want to hire someone who says that being a nanny means watching the children when the parents are out.


I've been a nanny for parents that want me to take charge even when they're there and I've worked for some who preferred to have me in the background while they're around. Each family and nanny is different so deciding what you want beforehand and bringing it up during the interview will establish lines with both the nanny and eventually, even the child or children. 


Sure, sometimes things come up, but if you hire a young, 20-something nanny knowing that they want to pursue a career outside of nannying at some point, you can't be mad when they decide to do just that. You can, however, address the fact that you want someone long-term and do your best to find someone that also wants to be there for the long haul. Asking about their life plans or career goals will help you avoid miscommunication. 

It's also wise to keep an ear out for other problems that could arise. Did they mention that they're dating someone long distance? If so, there's potential for them to move. Does their family live across the country? They might want to travel often. Those shouldn't necessarily be deal breakers but when it comes down to one nanny or another, these details might help you make a final decision. 


There's a difference between being a nanny and being a maid. Maybe you expect the nanny to grocery shop, do the entire family's laundry, cook, and clean — which is fine! — but the person you're interviewing might not know that. Additionally, they might not want to do that. 

Be clear and upfront about what will be expected of them and pay them accordingly so that there aren't any unforeseen issues that come up after they've already started. It's one thing to ask if they're okay with doing a few chores here and there, but if you need/want much more than loading the dishwasher, make sure it's talked about in the interview.

6 Towns in Tuscany where you can find the authentic Italy


By Sheri Doyle for A Luxury Travel Blog

Italy is one of the top travel destinations in the world. When travellers head straight for Rome, Venice, Florence and Pisa they leave the authentic Italy undiscovered. The Tuscan region is home to many small towns, which still offer visitors a taste of authentic Italy. These are where a traveler will find the real Italian food, a slower pace of life, and some of the countries most beautiful scenery.


This Ligurian town hides along the Mediterranean Sea further south than its more famous sisters, the Cinque Terre. Still relatively undiscovered Portovenere is the perfect place to find an authentic
Italian experience with the bonus of gorgeous sea views, romantic walks along the Palazzatas, and beautiful medieval architecture. In the Palazzatas the yellow, orange, pink and beige homes stand parallel to the bay serving as a barrier for the rest of the city. They house restaurants serving up local seafood and pasta delights.

Portovenere welcomes you in and immediately convinces you to pass the hours away with delicious Proseco or Aperol as you people watch along the Meditteranean. The waves lapping against the ancient St. Peter’s Church transport you back into time as you imagine what it took to build the exquisite stone church on the cliffs of this colorful city. A leisurely walk along the shore brings you to the town gate and tower, which joins the medieval wall that used to protect the town.

Luckily Portovenere has stayed under the radar for the average tourist so you will still find an authentic Italian experience as you walk through the Palazzatas filled with colorful homes, restaurants and cafes. Along the coastline lies the Mill, the ruins of the Doria castle, built in the eleventh century, while further inland is the Church of Lorenzo erected in the 10th or 11th century. For those lucky enough to be in Portovenere on August 17 th there is an unbelievable event, the Sanctuary of the “Madonna Bianca” who is carried through the town at night.

Walking along the cliffs the view of Palmaria island tempt you to take the short boat trip over for some hiking or just a delicious lunch as you gaze out at the bay of Portovenere.

It is easy to get lost in this city hidden away from its sister cities, the Cinque Terre and La Spezia and never want to leave. Fortunately day trips to the Cinque Terre or La Spezia are easy by boat, driver or car, then you can return in the evening to luxury in hotels like the Grand Hotel Portovenere to watch the lights dance across the bay and the sun set over the Mediteranean sea.


100km north of Florence stand the Apuan Alps, home to the Carrara granite quarries. The quarries have been in operation since the early Roman times, playing a vital role in Michelangelo’s life as a sculptor. As you wind your way up, taking in the white-capped mountains, it is impossible not to think of Michelangelo waiting months for the perfect piece of marble to be cut from these same mountains, so he could create the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. You can spend your time touring the quarries and the town of Carrara with marble statues, an understated beautiful little church and walk the cobblestone streets of the small town. When journeying down the mountain, through old tunnels, and over dramatic bridges you will find other small towns nestled into the mountains leading down to Pietrasanta. Pietrasanta is a great stop to visit the sculpture workshops where artisans welcome you in to watch their creations come to life from the marble in the mountain range looming over the city.

There is great shopping in Pietrasanta along with some of the best pizza you can find in Italy. Sitting in the Piazza’s looking up to the mountains, watching the large trucks bring the granite down for the artisans eagerly waiting to bring their visions to life is an experience that is uniquely Italian, tied so closely to the architectural and artistic history of the country, and the world.


Close to Carrara is the small hamlet of Colonnata. The 300 residents of Colonnata are tucked away into the mountains curing one of Italy’s gastronomic treasures, lardo. The stone buildings and cobblestone streets stand in contrast to the white-capped mountains standing close by. Inside the buildings are delicious restaurants, shops selling Lardo, and coffee shops inviting you to sit and take in the incredible views and learn about the pork delicacy cured in Carrara marble vats.

This incredibly unique hamlet is so undiscovered it is often hard to figure out how to get there. If you travel by car you can drive from Carrara following the signs up the mountain, hire a taxi where you can sit back and enjoy the view and the dramatic curves of the Italian mountain roads.


This beautiful Italian beach town is popular with the locals and with Italian tourists but is still relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists. When you visit Viareggio you are rewarded with 20 km of beach flanked with the Passeggiata Margherita, a 3 km promenade, home to great shops, galleries, restaurants, clubs, coffee shops and fantastic Art Nouveau architecture. Spend some time riding bikes, discovering this more modern Italian city, soaking up the sun from the sea and hanging out with the locals. Filling the beach in the summer months are rows and rows of colorful chairs and umbrellas available for rent. There is nothing like spending a day on an Italian beach people watching, enjoying some wine and fantastic seafood from the local restaurants.

Every weekend during the winter months of January and February, Viareggio is home to a huge Carnival complete with massive floats of famous actors, musicians, politicians and other characters. The Museo di Carnavale (Carnival Museum) is open all year to enjoy the floats and the history if you don’t get there for the parade. If you prefer outdoor activities you can hike the local Apuan Alps, or head up to Massaciuccoli Lake to tour its ancient Roman Archaeolgical area.

Montecatini Alto

Under the ground of the city of Montecatini runs rivers whose waters have healing properties. These rivers have given way to a whole industry of spas in Montecatini Terme. Here you can take time for relaxation during your visit in Italy but, the gem of Montecatini is Montecatini Alto. This little village sits on top of a hill overlooking the Tuscan countryside. It is easily accessible either by car or by a funicular from Montecatini Terme.

As you travel up the hill the view gets better and better until you reach old stone buildings on narrow streets accessible only by foot. The street from the parking lot leads you directly into Piazza Giusti, which is home to several different restaurants with tables sitting outside where you can spend an afternoon enjoying great wine, or a fantastic meal. From the Piazza it is easy to make your way through the town to visit the historic churches and other medieval buildings representing the past of this area of Tuscany. The walks through town reward visitors with beautiful twisted trees, unique architectural details and cats lingering in the windows of the small homes.

To find a more peaceful area of Tuscany would be hard to do. A day in Montecatini Alto is sure to leave its mark on your soul.


One of the treasures of Italy, the town of Lucca, is often overlooked as people trek through Florence, Pisa, Sienna and the Cinque Terre. Yet this city is more representative of what Italy was than most places in Tuscany. Surrounded by a wall built in the 16 th century to keep the Medici family from taking over, Lucca has remained as it was hundreds of years ago. Lucca has escaped any modern changes due to the constraints of the medieval walls and the dedication of the locals to maintain the city as it has always been.

Lucca is home to over 100 churches, some full of treasures not to be missed, such as the Palo Santo. The cobblestone streets lead to beautiful Piazzas, great shopping, a botanical garden and museums of Puccini or national treasures not to be missed. On various weekends you can also find fantastic antique markets set up in four different Piazzas and along the side streets, all holding beautiful works of arts, vintage clothing, jewelry and other unique Italian treasures. Culture abounds in Lucca with nightly musical performances at various churches, or from street musicians, fantastic symphony shows and an incredible music festival in July and August.

Renting a bike in Lucca and riding the 4 km track along the wall will provide you with gorgeous views of the mountains and the surrounding city as well as beautiful palaces and homes. While biking, walking or jogging the road you will be surrounded by locals hanging out, or exercising, fantastic sculptures, museums, amazing views of the cities towers and beautiful churches. There is a feeling in Lucca you will find nowhere else, as the friendly locals welcome you in and proudly serve you authentic food, incredible foccacia bread, delicious gelato or an


You will quickly fall in love with the unique feeling of this medieval town and its incredible history dating back to 56 BC when Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great and Marcus Crassus met to postpone the upcoming civil war until Caesar could cross the Rubicon seven years later.

7 Traits All Successful Co-Parenting Arrangements Share


By Jeremy Brown for Fatherly

While no co-parenting arrangement is exactly the same, there are defining characteristics that define all successful post-marriage partnerships.

When a divorce is finalized, it’s normal to never want to see your ex again. There’s the heartbreak, of course, and probably some nascent anger, too. The biggest issue is wanting to start fresh and avoid constantly confronting a failed relationship. When children are involved, seeing your ex is an unavoidable outcome. There’s no way that such a scenario won’t be tough, but there are hundreds of thousands of couples who, in joint custody arrangements, have worked out co-parenting relationships that not only put the kids first but also allow them to exist amicably.

So, what does successful co-parenting (joint parenting, shared parenting, or whatever you’d like to call it) look like? While no arrangement is exactly the same, there are factors all successful post-marriage partnerships share — like the seven below. Will every day be easy? Of course not. But by keeping these things in mind, you’ll eventually mold something that works for everyone.

They Keep to Consistent Parenting Styles 

You and your ex may have your differences, but when it comes to parenting, you have to be on the same page. From academic expectations to rules around socializing and going out, you both need to adopt one philosophy and stick to it. When one parent is a strict disciplinarian and the other one flaunts the rules, it can create chaos in the home. “This polarized style of parenting dynamic can lead teens to drugs, alcohol, and delinquent behaviors,” says says Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent who’s also a regular guest on The Doctors. “This is one of the reasons why parents need to agree on a mutual parenting strategy and implementation.” Anne Mitchell, Esq, a Family Law Attorney and the founder of DadsRights.org, agrees. “Just as you were partners in life while married, you still need to be partners in parenting,” she says. “This has the added benefit of the children being much less likely to be able to play one parent against the other, which nearly all children of divorce try to do.”

They Maintain Some Structure

Divorce has already upended your lives and the lives of your kids, so it’s vital to maintain organization in post-divorce life. Maintaining the same bedtime, dinnertime, and homework schedule will go a long way to keeping things on as even a keep as possible. “The more stable your child’s life and routine the less separation anxiety he will suffer,” explain’s Walfish.

They Understand That Communication Is Key 

As much as you might not want to, it is vital that you and your ex stay in touch and communicate about what is happening in your kids’ lives, what they need from each of you, and what you can do for them. In addition, it’s doubly important that this communication occur away from the kids, as well as away from friends, neighbors, and in-laws who can negatively impact the situation.

“I’ve never yet seen a situation where well-meaning friends and family, or jealous next partners, aren’t at least to some extent telling a [parent] how bad the other person is, or how they shouldn’t ‘let them get away with that,’ or whatever,” Mitchell says. “This is where co-parent counseling comes in. Many find this sort of counseling invaluable as it gives them a place where it is okay and acceptable for them to communicate, for the sake of the children, without the outside influence of the children, second mates, friends, and family.”

They Leave the Kids Out of It 

As tempting as it might be, hold your tongue around the kids and never, ever run down your ex around them. “It’s crucial to remember that your children are keenly aware that they are the product of both mom and dad,” says Mitchell. “So hearing bad things about the other parent is actually telling the child that one-half of them is ‘bad.’ It doesn’t take much to realize how hurtful —and damaging —  that is to a child.”

They Work Hard to Keep Things Civil 

An obvious follow up: don’t argue with your spouse in front of the kids either. “For the sake of your children be courteous, polite, and civil with your ex,” Walfish says. “I can’t tell you how many teens throw themselves onto my office couch hour after hour painfully complaining about their parenting fighting.” Overall, it’s vital to keep the kids’ feelings at the forefront of everything you do throughout this process, as they are the ones who are going to be the most affected. “Every child wants, wishes, and longs for their mothers and fathers to stay together,” says Walfish. “The breakup of the family unit is traumatic – even in the most amicable divorce. Kids have a range of feelings that can change at any given moment.”

They Leave the Baggage at Home

Don’t take dropping off the kids at your ex’s as an opportunity to open up old wounds. “It can be hard for exes to separate out their co-parenting relationship,” says Mitchell, “because interacting with someone with whom you had, at one time, a romantic or married relationship does bring up old dynamics, which is another reason why co-parenting counseling can be so valuable, as it really helps the parents to get to that place of just co-parenting.”

They Take Time for Themselves

This is one item that isn’t often talked about, but it’s more important than parents may realize. When you’ve dropped your kids off with your ex, it means you have something few parents ever do: free time. “Separated/divorced parents often feel like they can’t have a life outside of the children and work, as if it will somehow be used against them, or make them look bad,” says Mitchell. Co-parenting cooperatively absolutely gives each parent some time to decompress, to not have to worry about carpools or getting the kids to activities, and generally be an adult. This is the time to go out with the girls or the guys, to take yourself to a grown-up movie that you want to see, or even to just revel in the quiet of the house.” Take advantage of thtat and you’ll be primed to be the best parent you can be for your kids.

This is where everyone will be going on holiday in 2018

 Turismo Chile

Turismo Chile

By Olivia Blair for Harpers Bazaar

Harper's Bazaar asked a group of travel experts where everyone will be visiting in 2018. 


The South American country topped the prestigious Lonely Planet best in travel list for 2018 meaning interest is already at a peak. 

Famed for being home to both dessert, the Patagonian fjords, the Andes and vibrant, cultural cities, the country also marks 200 years of independence next year.

Porto, Portugal

If 2017 belonged to Lisbon, 2018 belongs to Portugal's second largest city, Porto, according to researchers. 

Emily Cater, travel editor at research company WGSN, told Bazaar UK: "Portugal’s second-biggest metropolis fuses old and new, with its beautiful, colourful abandoned buildings, baroque churches as well as newer constructions springing up around the city. Undoubtedly, the food is a key draw here, with plentiful fresh fish, cheese and port of course, however the shopping measures up too."


Navigating Japan is being touted as one of the most likely adventures for travellers next year, especially among millennials. According to Topdeck travel, who provide travel holidays for 18 - 39 year olds, there are a number of reasons why the Asian country is in the spotlight.

"Japan is now more accessible than ever for UK tourists," Saul Burrows, global head of product at Topdeck, told Bazaar UK. "With airlines such as KLM/Air France launching direct flights from Western Europe in the last few years and Japan Airlines recently announcing flight increases from London to Tokyo, Brits can easily get to the Land of the Rising Sun in just over 11 hours.

"Visitors are now also taking advantage of the pound's strength against the Yen, meaning UK holiday makers can get more for their money than they did a year ago."

New Orleans, USA

Move over New York City and Los Angeles, as the state of Louisiana's largest city - and birthplace of jazz - is set to be a top US destination for 2018.

"Exciting new cajun and creole restaurants are popping up regularly, while its cocktail culture is unparalleled – with hotspots including Peche, Seaworthy and Bacchanal," Cater says.

"Meanwhile, new fashion labels are opening up shop here, and hotels like The Ace and Catahoula have opened up too – a sure sign it’s going to be a hot city for 2018."


Singapore has previously trailed behind its neighbouring cities of Hong Kong and Tokyo but, in 2018, it will get the love it deserves. 

Cater says thanks to its cultural diversity, shopping scene, surprisingly green environment and Instagram-potential - we've all seen that infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands, right? - Singapore is a hot spot not to be missed.


According to holiday company Thomas Cook, the black sea resorts in Bulgaria have witnessed a 25% growth this summer compared to last year. 

And this year, they don't expect the eastern European country's popularity to slow down. The non-Euro country offers good value for money and, while in the past it has been seen as a party resort, the company say there has been a recent shift towards families and couples choosing it for their holiday destination.

Mexico City, Mexico

"Mexico City is becoming an increasingly hot destination for travellers, thanks to its vibrant arts and music scene and strong sense of local culture," Cater says. 

For a broader travel experience, you're also never too far away to visit the countless beautiful beach resorts that the country has to offer either.

Hamburg, Germany

While Berlin enjoyed a huge renaissance as the German city break a few years ago, Cater calls Hamburg "Berlin's newer, cooler little sister".

Hamburg offers riverfront bars, restaurants, shopping and incredible architecture. Take the Elbphilharmonie concert hall which was completed this year and includes a plaza where visitors can look out at panoramic views of the city.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul might already have a reputation for being super cool and fashionable but Cater emphasises its "buzzing nightlife, delicious cuisine, quirky themed cafes and beautiful Buddhist temples" as ultimate drawing points.

The newly opened Lotte World Tower (centre of the picture) is also now the country's tallest building. The fact it's surrounded by huge mountain peaks gives it a skyline to rival both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Serena Williams's Story About Her Childbirth Complications Could Save Another Mother's Life

By Angela Anagnost Repke for POPSUGAR

Like most mothers, Serena Williams is adorably infatuated with her new bundle of joy, daughter Alexis Olympia. During her recent interview and cover shoot with Vogue, the professional tennis player even said, "We're not spending a day apart until she's eighteen." While she's kidding (probably), the new mom did have some very serious things to say about Alexis's delivery and the complications that followed.

After having a C-section when she welcomed Alexis in September, Serena had the euphoric experience of feeling her daughter lay on her chest, but then, she said, "Everything went bad." She went on to explain that because of her history of blood clots, she immediately knew something was wrong when she began experiencing shortness of breath. Due to her surgery, Serena wasn't taking her normal medication to keep the clots under control, which made her worry about having another pulmonary embolism (a life-threatening condition when blood clots travel to the lungs). She knew she needed a CT scan, but the doctors didn't listen and ordered a doppler instead. When nothing showed up on the ultrasound, she begged the doctors for a CT scan, and sure enough, she was right — Serena had several blood clots making a home in her lungs

She also revealed that a side effect of her pulmonary embolism was violent coughing, which caused her C-section incision to open. When she returned to surgery, the doctors found that a hematoma, which is a swelling of clotted blood, had submerged into her abdomen. Finally, Serena had to endure yet another surgery where doctors placed a filter into a major vein to prevent more clots from migrating to her lungs. The athlete then spent the next several weeks recovering. 

Serena's husband, Alexis Ohanian, said, "Consider for a moment that your body is one of the greatest things on this planet, and you're trapped in it." The uncertainty and frustration got to Serena, as it would any new mother. "Sometimes I get really down and feel like, 'Man, I can't do this,'" she said. "It's that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes." But since Serena has never been one to quit, she's been recovering and soaking up every precious second with the new love of her life. And shortly after she shared her story, she reached out to fans on Facebook about how important it is for new mothers, especially black women, to know what's going on with their bodies:

I didn't expect that sharing our family's story of Olympia's birth and all of complications after giving birth would start such an outpouring of discussion from women — especially black women — who have faced similar complications and women whose problems go unaddressed.

These aren't just stories: according to the CDC, (Center for Disease Control) black women are over 3 times more likely than White women to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. We have a lot of work to do as a nation and I hope my story can inspire a conversation that gets us to close this gap.

Let me be clear: EVERY mother, regardless of race, or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. I personally want all women of all colors to have the best experience they can have. My personal experience was not great but it was MY experience and I'm happy it happened to me. It made me stronger and it made me appreciate women -- both women with and without kids -- even more. We are powerful!!!

I want to thank all of you who have opened up through online comments and other platforms to tell your story. I encourage you to continue to tell those stories. This helps. We can help others. Our voices are our power.

Yes, her entrance into motherhood wasn't a grand slam, but now that she's settled into her new role, you can bet she's swinging as hard as she used to.

Why teaching children handwriting is still important


By Tayla for Motherhood the Real Deal

In this day of gadgets and gizmos where the thumb seems to be mightier than the pen, you could be forgiven for thinking that teaching children handwriting is not as important as it once was. WRONG! Teaching children handwriting is still as important as ever. I’ve joined forces with uni-ball to share my thoughts on why handwriting is a skill that needs to be cherished and nurtured:

It improves memory

As a child, I remember writing things over and over in order to remember them. These days as an adult can I remember anything that I type on a keyboard? Not likely! The reason why this is is because the brain engages differently when you write something down on paper as opposed to getting the same thought, idea or sentence down via a keyboard. It’s no wonder then that studies have shown that handwriting improves memory and that children learn better when writing ideas down, as opposed to typing them.

It is better at helping children with literacy

While there are so many fantastic apps out there these days to help children to learn the alphabet and to read and write, sometime’s the old school really is the best school. Learning letters on a screen only engages the eyes and the fingertips however learning them through writing also  brings in more touch sensory experiences, fine-motor muscles in the fingers and even the arms and body.

Note-keeping rocks

As a blogger, this one comes from the heart. Although the words that I write at this precise moment are all through the keyboard, almost all my note taking is done in a note pad and many successful people across all careers and walks of life state that jotting down notes has been crucial to their success. The ability to jot down notes is still so important so let’s not forget it.

Handwriting helps children be in the now

Technology has it’s place, but it can also be a massive distraction. There is something amazingly immersive about handwriting – it brings you into the now. You can’t write as fast as you think – unlike typing. Handwriting forces us all to slow down and be more considered – something that is invaluable for children in this crazy fast paced life we live in.

Handwriting is part of a child’s identity

Do you remember experimenting with different styles of handwriting as a child? I do. I remember also experiemting with copying other people’s styles, and wondering what someone’s handwriting said about them. Handwriting is a unique personal statement, and one that should be embraced by every child as part of their individuality and exploration of self.

You can’t beat a child’s handwritten note

OK, slightly selfish, but you know when your child first starts writing you little notes, thank you letters, and cards. You heart melts. Are you going to feel that way when they learn to send you an email, or leave a message up on your computer instead of a post it note? Nah, I didn’t think so. These acts of handwriting have to be up there with the moments that make parenthood worthwhile.

So as you can tell I’m really a handwriting advocate, and if you’re passionate about keeping the skill of handwriting alive in your children, why not check out these top tips on teaching handwriting to children as well as these free handwriting worksheets for children.